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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Fw: OK, Let's Focus on the Real Issue

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  • Vladimir Kozyreff
    Dear Father John, The disputed last epistle of Vl. Vitaly proposes that a new Council should meet to take into account the meaning of those within the Church
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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      Dear Father John,

      The disputed last epistle of Vl. Vitaly proposes that a new Council should
      meet to take into account the meaning of those within the Church who think
      that the post October council poslanie should be re-written.

      What can one oppose to such a conciliatory programme, if one is genuinely
      concerned about sobornost?

      Sobornost, sobor, council, unanimity, meeting... What other concepts can I
      quote to stress the idea of oneness, that should inspire and guide us?

      The text you mention of course has a lot of positive aspects. In orthodoxy,
      what governs is not statements or texts, but experience, be it mystical,
      personal contacts or whatever. Nothing will replace personal meetings for
      people to reunite and reconcile with one another.

      What is to be gained by not meeting and not searching unanimity? Is loosing
      face more tragic than loosing one's soul?

      Father Alexander says that I call the attitude of the Synod "stubborn"
      because I do not like it. Not so. I call it stubborn because it persists in
      ignoring the calls of a sizeable part of the Church.

      Father Alexander asks which "magic potion" had those who signed the post
      October Council poslanie change their minds. "Gospod umudryaiet sleptsi".
      Did it never occur to you that you reconsidered a position that you had held
      for a time? Is a person not stubborn to refuse in principle to reconsider
      his position? Is it not a lack of humility and a risk to miss the Truth?

      In God,

      Vladimir Kozyreff




      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Fr. John Whiteford" <frjohnwhiteford@...>
      To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 12:55 PM
      Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: Fw: OK, Let's Focus on the Real Issue


      > --- Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:
      > "Excuse me for insisting. The issue you discuss may be "basic", but
      > is still not the real issue. The real issue is the content of the
      > epistle, which you do not address."
      >
      >
      >
      > OK... which issues are not addressed already in
      > the following document... just to point to one
      > example?
      >
      > http://www.rocor.org/documents/2001-03-15-appeal.html
      >
      > =====
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    • Father Maximos
      At the last regular Synod meeting the following document was issued, signed by His Eminance Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a few months ago, how
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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        At the last regular Synod meeting the following document was issued,
        signed by His Eminance Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
        few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the ideas expressed
        in the so-called epistle recently issued?



        Having assembled for a regular session of the Synod of Bishops, we
        found it necessary to bear witness again to our inner unity and
        unshakable stand in the truth of the Church. We are alarmed by the
        discord which has drawn in certain parts of our ecclesial organism.
        In connection with this, we affirm that all of us, the members of the
        Synod of Bishops, presided over by our president, His Eminence
        Metropolitan Vitaly, unanimously stand by the decisions and
        statements adopted at the Council of Bishops, and we cannot agree
        with any attempt to introduce a spirit of doubt and disagreement into
        our midst.


        Over the course of eighty years, we have sensed that our
        responsibility lies before the fullness of the Church of Russia, both
        abroad and in our much-suffering homeland. Our decisions and thoughts
        are always guided by this twofold responsibility.


        It is not because we deserve it that we have inherited all the
        richness of the Church of Russia; yet we strive to preserve it and to
        pass it on. And now also we continue to occupy the steadfast
        positions of our confession of the Faith before the whole world,and
        we therefore naturally rejoice when we perceive positive changed
        occurring among our much-suffering Russian people.


        The Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
        itself defines our existence and binds our activities with
        responsibility before the entire Church of Russia. In our time, when
        it open persecution has ceased, our relations require interpretation
        and healthy assessment. With this aim in mind, the Council of Bishops
        which convened in the year 2000 set up several committees to study
        the paths of the Church of Russia, past and future. Such a step is
        not an innovation; rather it is organic, and consequently is an
        extension of our former path.


        Reminding all the faithful children of our Church that it is
        essential not to submit to the attempts of the enemy of our salvation
        to rend the seamless garment of the Church, we call upon you all
        henceforth to stand firmly in the truth of the Church and to preserve
        the unity of love.


        26 January/8 February 2001


        Metropolitan Vitaly [signature]
        President of the Synod


        Members of the Synod
        [signed:]
        Archbishop Laurus
        Archbishop Mark
        Archbishop Alypy
        Bishop Gabriel
        Bishop Kyrill
        Bishop Michael

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Anthony Bridges
        ... Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a ... issued? ... Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to answer your question. It appears to be
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 3, 2001
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          --- Father Maximos <mga@...> wrote:
          > At the last regular Synod meeting the following
          > document was issued,signed by His Eminance
          Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
          > few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the
          > ideas expressed in the so-called epistle recently
          issued?
          >

          Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to
          answer your question. It appears to be true, as we
          have been told, that there is a difference between the
          Metropolitan's signature affixed to a document from
          the Synod, such as you have quoted, and a document
          which only he himself produces.

          While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
          other about the current controversy (believing that in
          time it will be clarified), what I have said above
          seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
          "Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
          not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
          Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal Epistle as
          well.

          I quote the Post-Conciliar Epistle here:

          Epistle
          from Metropolitan Vitaly
          First Hierarch
          of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

          Beloved brothers and sisters

          Now that the meeting of the Bishops' Council, or
          Sobor, is over, I consider it my duty, as First
          Hierarch of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside
          Russia, to assure all of you that our Church, which
          has followed along the straight path of Christ these
          80 years, will not turn aside into any dubious byways.
          On the other hand, we cannot be indifferent and silent
          as regards questions affecting what is happening on
          the spiritual level in Russia.

          The Moscow Patriarchate has now glorified the Royal
          Martyrs, whom we have glorified long ago, and we have
          sent thousands of icons of them throughout the whole
          of Russia. In this way the whole of Russia became
          aware of the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church
          Outside Russia. Now many people cannot help wondering
          why the Moscow Patriarchate did not simply recognize
          our glorification and adopt it for itself. The answer
          is very simple. To recognize our glorification would
          mean recognizing our Church Abroad as a lawful Church
          which had left the borders of the fatherland and
          existed these 80 years beyond the borders of Russia,
          with the blessing of the last lawful Patriarch of
          Russia, Patriarch Tikhon. This is something which the
          Moscow Patriarchate to this very day cannot and will
          not do. Meanwhile believers in Russia demand a
          glorification. So the Moscow Patriarchate decided to
          perform an act of political machination and undertake
          its own glorification, with the sole aim of quietening
          the voice of its believers and thereby managing to
          prolong its own existence. In other words, the Moscow
          Patriarchate, which is the direct heir of the Soviet
          executioners, arrayed in the fleece of an innocent
          sheep put on over its wolf's hide, is now glorifying
          the murdered and tormented victims of its own
          communist leaders. Before that, for years the Moscow
          Patriarchate was in full concord with the Bolsheviks
          and the rulers in the USSR who exterminated hundreds
          of thousands of believers. Despite this it was clear
          that the Russian people could not be torn away from
          the Church of Christ. That Pascha would always remain
          the peoples' greatest festivity. That red easter eggs,
          kulich and cheese-pascha would adorn everyone's table
          at Easter time and even the state bakeries would sell
          the special Easter kulich while calling it sweetened
          bread. Seeing all this, Stalin was brought to a state
          of wild fury and said, "Obviously we can't turn all
          Russians into Bolsheviks; so we and only we will give
          them a Patriarch, as well as all the reverend clergy
          they need, and we'll open churches, which we will sell
          to them and increase taxes the whole time until they
          have no more means to exist."

          The silent answer of believers in Russia to this was
          that they started to pray in their homes, and in each
          such apartment they made a house church with an
          iconostas and icons and even made their own incense
          using the resin from pine trees and drops of rose oil.
          Churches like this exist up to the present day.
          Despite the wonderful church buildings of the
          Patriarchate, the sumptuously arrayed clergy and
          splendid choirs, many believers prefer the crowded
          conditions of these apartments. Even at Pascha, when
          the processions are taking place in the official
          churches to the resounding peals of bells, there are
          people in apartment buildings, in corridors, quietly
          going in single file with candles in their hands, and
          singing in a whisper "Christ is Risen!" You cannot but
          ask yourself, "Who are these people?" They are
          believers who, while living in Russia alongside all
          the others, understand and feel precisely what the
          Moscow Patriarchate is, and what is its purpose and
          direction. These very people look to us, seeking our
          protection and understanding. Up to this day they have
          received this from us and I want to assure all the
          children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
          that nothing has changed. As we have continued
          fearlessly on our path these 80 years, so we shall
          continue further. Our path is a very lonely one,
          because we stand for the Truth, but fear not, little
          flock, the Lord is with us! And if the Lord be with
          us, who shall be against us?

          Now I want to return to the questions which are so
          disturbing to many of you. Firstly I want to express
          my profound gratitude to all of you for your trust and
          love towards me, and in order to reassure you I want
          to explain the following. The Epistle from the Council
          of Bishops, in accordance with the laws governing a
          Council - an Assembly, or Sobor (since the very word
          "Sobor" means a common decision) must be signed by
          all. If any of the bishops has his own personal
          opinion, he has the right to express it separately in
          writing. The fact that I signed the Epistle is far
          from meaning that I am in agreement with each and
          every statement in it and I know that there are other
          bishops who thought as I do, but to compose an Epistle
          with which all would be completely satisfied is
          virtually impossible.

          There is one further point which is of great concern
          to many of you. This is the establishment of a Synodal
          Committee to discuss questions of the unity of the
          Russian Church. I myself questioned what unity could
          be under consideration, when it should be quite clear
          to all that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
          Russia, which has preserved its spiritual freedom
          these 80 years, will never proceed to unite with the
          Moscow Patriarchate.

          And so, faithful children of the Russian Orthodox
          Church Outside Russia, know that our Church has not
          betrayed its path and that we also, if we desire our
          salvation, must follow her path. There will be many
          trials and temptations, but remain as always faithful
          to the Lord and His Church, and do not forget that the
          most terrible thing for us is to depart from the Truth
          - which is to say, from Christ Himself.

          Metropolitan Vitaly
          Feast of the Presentation of the
          Mother of God in the Temple
          21 November / 4 December, 2000


          And here is the epistle from the Synod you had
          previously quoted. Reading this one, it is clear that
          it is from the entire Synod, not only the
          Metropolitan, and, as we have been told, all must sign
          this type of document.

          So there is no mystery here.

          Father Deacon Anthony
          Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow
          Cumming, GA


          >
          >
          > Having assembled for a regular session of the Synod
          > of Bishops, we found it necessary to bear witness
          again to our inner unity and
          > unshakable stand in the truth of the Church. We are
          > alarmed by the
          > discord which has drawn in certain parts of our
          > ecclesial organism.
          > In connection with this, we affirm that all of us,
          > the members of the
          > Synod of Bishops, presided over by our president,
          > His Eminence
          > Metropolitan Vitaly, unanimously stand by the
          > decisions and
          > statements adopted at the Council of Bishops, and we
          > cannot agree
          > with any attempt to introduce a spirit of doubt and
          > disagreement into
          > our midst.
          >
          >
          > Over the course of eighty years, we have sensed that
          > our
          > responsibility lies before the fullness of the
          > Church of Russia, both
          > abroad and in our much-suffering homeland. Our
          > decisions and thoughts
          > are always guided by this twofold responsibility.
          >
          >
          > It is not because we deserve it that we have
          > inherited all the
          > richness of the Church of Russia; yet we strive to
          > preserve it and to
          > pass it on. And now also we continue to occupy the
          > steadfast
          > positions of our confession of the Faith before the
          > whole world,and
          > we therefore naturally rejoice when we perceive
          > positive changed
          > occurring among our much-suffering Russian people.
          >
          >
          > The Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church
          > Outside of Russia
          > itself defines our existence and binds our
          > activities with
          > responsibility before the entire Church of Russia.
          > In our time, when
          > it open persecution has ceased, our relations
          > require interpretation
          > and healthy assessment. With this aim in mind, the
          > Council of Bishops
          > which convened in the year 2000 set up several
          > committees to study
          > the paths of the Church of Russia, past and future.
          > Such a step is
          > not an innovation; rather it is organic, and
          > consequently is an
          > extension of our former path.
          >
          >
          > Reminding all the faithful children of our Church
          > that it is
          > essential not to submit to the attempts of the enemy
          > of our salvation
          > to rend the seamless garment of the Church, we call
          > upon you all
          > henceforth to stand firmly in the truth of the
          > Church and to preserve
          > the unity of love.
          >
          >
          > 26 January/8 February 2001
          >
          >
          > Metropolitan Vitaly [signature]
          > President of the Synod
          >
          >
          > Members of the Synod
          > [signed:]
          > Archbishop Laurus
          > Archbishop Mark
          > Archbishop Alypy
          > Bishop Gabriel
          > Bishop Kyrill
          > Bishop Michael
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been
          > removed]
          >
          >


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        • Ascension Monastery
          ... This is certainly possible, but there are other possible answers as well. The main difference between these two types of documents is that the one he signs
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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            >--- Father Maximos <mga@...> wrote:
            >> At the last regular Synod meeting the following
            >> document was issued,signed by His Eminance
            >Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
            >> few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the
            >> ideas expressed in the so-called epistle recently
            >issued?
            >>
            >
            >Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to
            >answer your question. It appears to be true, as we
            >have been told, that there is a difference between the
            >Metropolitan's signature affixed to a document from
            >the Synod, such as you have quoted, and a document
            >which only he himself produces.
            >
            >While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
            >other about the current controversy (believing that in
            >time it will be clarified), what I have said above
            >seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
            >"Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
            >not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
            >Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal Epistle as
            >well.



            This is certainly possible, but there are other possible answers as
            well. The main difference between these two types of documents is
            that the one he signs in his capacity as the President of the Council
            of Bishops has the "force of law' as it were. It is the conciliar
            voice of the Church ( I am not claiming it is infallible) whereas the
            documents produced by himself alone are his considered opinions and
            they do not have the authority to reverse the decision of the Council
            of Bishops. Any reversal of the course chartered by the Council in
            2000, must be done by the Council of Bishops which is the supreme
            canonical authority. I am sure there will be an effort by some to do
            so at the next Council meeting, and we must have faith that the right
            and proper course will be pursued. May God grant strength to our
            Hierarchs to do that which is well-pleasing to God, and to resist the
            efforts of those who , though they may think they do well, are
            tearing our Church apart.


            In Christ

            the sinful monk

            Maximos+


            Rev.Hieromonk Maximos
            Ascension Monastery
            Russian Orthodox Church
            Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
            706-277-9442 ( voice)
            775-640-2325 ( fax)
            http://www.monastery.org
            http://shop.monasteryproducts.org


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Anthony Bridges
            Deacon Anthony wrote: It appears to be true, as we have been told, that there is a difference between the Metropolitan s signature affixed to a document from
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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              Deacon Anthony wrote:

              It appears to be true, as we have been told, that
              there is a difference between the Metropolitan's
              signature affixed to a document from the Synod, such
              as you have quoted, and a document which only he
              himself produces.

              While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
              other about the current controversy (believing that in
              time it will be clarified), what I have said above
              seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
              "Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
              not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
              Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal [should be
              Conciliar] Epistle as well.
              >

              Father Maximos wrote:

              >
              > This is certainly possible, but there are other
              > possible answers as well. The main difference
              > between these two types of documents is
              > that the one he signs in his capacity as the
              > President of the Council
              > of Bishops has the "force of law' as it were. It is
              > the conciliar voice of the Church ( I am not
              > claiming it is infallible) whereas the
              > documents produced by himself alone are his
              > considered opinions and they do not have the
              > authority to reverse the decision of the Council
              > of Bishops. Any reversal of the course chartered by
              > the Council in 2000, must be done by the Council of
              > Bishops which is the supreme canonical authority.

              Deacon Anthony replies:

              Father, with your blessing, let me say that what you
              have stated above is not a different answer to what I
              gave, as far as I can see, but an explanatory
              expansion of that answer. Your original question, as I
              recall, was how could the same person have signed both
              the October 2000 Epistle and the recent controversial
              Epistle. The answer is that one is part of the
              procedure of the Council of Bishops and the other is
              from the Metropolitan himself.

              We know that the Metropolitan does not have the
              authority to reverse the decision of a Council.


              > I am sure there will be an effort by some to do
              > so [i.e "reverse the course chartered by
              > the Council in 2000",from above] at the next Council
              meeting,
              > and we must have faith that the right and proper
              > course will be pursued.


              According to both the Council and the Metropolitan, we
              have not entered upon a new course, so there is no
              need for reversal.


              > May God grant strength to our Hierarchs to do that
              > which is well-pleasing to God,
              > and to resist the efforts of those who, though they
              > may think they do well, are tearing our Church
              apart.
              >

              From this it sounds as though you already know what
              "that which is well-pleasing to God" is. Or am I
              misunderstanding you?


              deacon Anthony






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            • Father Maximos
              Dear Father Anthony, I think you are correct when you say there is no essential difference in what we both said. I think though there are those who wish to
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                Dear Father Anthony,

                I think you are correct when you say there is no essential difference
                in what we both said. I think though there are those who wish to
                create a scission between the Metropolitan and his fellow Hierarchs
                and this is unfortunate.

                You are very much correct when you say that the principles of the
                2000 Sobor were not a "new course" but the historical course of the
                Church Abroad, what I was attempting to say was the course as laid
                out at the 2000 Sobor, forgive me if I was unclear or ambiguous.
                Although you say you know that the Metropolitan cannot reverse the
                decisions of the Council, there are many that do not appear to know
                that is the case.

                At 2:46 PM -0700 7/5/01, Anthony Bridges wrote:
                >From this it sounds as though you already know what
                >"that which is well-pleasing to God" is. Or am I
                >misunderstanding you?


                I hope that I do, and I hope you do too. If not why are we daring to
                speak at all? I think following the traditional course of our Church
                with respect and obedience to the norms of the Orthodox Church is
                well pleasing to God. I think doing those things contrary to this is
                not well pleasing to God.


                In Christ

                the least of monks

                Maximos+
              • Anthony Bridges
                Father Deacon Anthony Bridges writes: I seem to have stuck my orarion in my diaconal mouth yet again! Most of my comments re the acrimony of orthodox lists do
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                  Father Deacon Anthony Bridges writes:

                  I seem to have stuck my orarion in my diaconal mouth
                  yet again!

                  Most of my comments re the acrimony of orthodox lists
                  do not apply to the orthodox-synod list, but mostly to
                  the orthodox-rocor list (if I have got them straight).
                  I get the two confused, because they are the two I
                  read on Yahoo!, and because there is a great deal of
                  cross-posting between the two.

                  However, I would reiterate the advice to stick to the
                  basics and avoid most of the Internet lists. A better
                  use for the Internet for new converts is to read the
                  doctrinal stuff on the various jurisdiction websites,
                  such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and to read
                  the articles at orthodoxinfo.com, etc.

                  This advice is based on my own experience as a
                  convert. It takes a LONG time to get SOME perspective
                  and develop the patience required to deal with the
                  controversies on these lists. In fact, I can't claim
                  to have attained either, which is why I mostly stay
                  away from posting, and just read.

                  It is far more important to attend all the services at
                  church, to pay attention to what is being read, to
                  read the Fathers or good books by Metropolitan of
                  Nafpakthos, Hierotheos Vlachos, etc. (Ascension
                  Monastery Bookstore is a good place to buy some of
                  these wonderful books, www.mga.org, I believe). After
                  a few YEARS, one might start to gain some perspective,
                  if only a little.

                  The lists might be good for making contacts and asking
                  certain questions, and perhaps this orthodox-synod
                  list is intended for that, while avoiding the worst of
                  the controversy.

                  I apologize for any confusion I have caused, and I
                  retreat into the fast...

                  Deacon Anthony







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